“I am the co-owner of the Glossary Salon in Florence and of the Tracy Branch Agency, which is a hair and makeup artist team who mainly works events like weddings, proms, pageants etc.
“Between both small businesses that I own, we have nearly 45 people that work with and for us that are all independent contractors. We have had to close the salon and my team and I have been without pay for over a month.
“Many of my stylists are the sole earner for their families. Because we get paid by the service, when we don’t work, we don’t get paid. As the owner, the bills for the rent, utilities, and systems don’t stop.
“The salon is our livelihood. For my hair and makeup team, we are all forced to be out of work now as well because large gatherings are not allowed. Over the last two months- my team has lost hundreds of wedding and event jobs. This is the only way most of them make a living.
“Assistance has been little to none as most of us are independent contractors and as of now 99 percent of us have been denied unemployment. We applied for the SBA loan but our applications had to be held until they opened it for independent/ self employed workers.
“Yesterday we were told that the money has run out. I worry and pray for everyone in my work family and every small business owner. We need the ability to be open. We follow all guidelines of sanitation and we will ramp those up to the extreme if we need to, but I pray we can get back to work soon.
“The financial strain is getting harder by the day and the mental wellness strain is also something I am seeing affecting my team.
“We want to do the right thing for the health of the community but we also want the right to work and provide for our families.”